Chicken Tikka Masālā
Happy Fri-YAY everyone! Ending the week on a high and with a great meal! WOO.
Today I am sharing with you my Chicken Tikka Masālā recipe. This recipe isn’t exactly Indian but has been adopted as such with all the spices used. To be honest, nobody really knows the origination of this dish. Weird, huh? I did a quick Google search, I love Google, and multiple sources, including Wikipedia state that the dish originated in an Indian restaurant in the UK. According to Wikipedia,
“On a dark, wet Glasgow night a bus driver coming off shift came in and ordered a chicken curry. He sent it back to the waiter saying it’s dry. At the time Dad had an ulcer and was enjoying a plate of tomato soup. So he said why not put some tomato soup into the curry with some spices. They sent it back to the table and the bus driver absolutely loved it. He and his friends came back again and again and we put it on the menu.”
There are many versions of this story floating around the internet, so we may never know.
Chicken Tikka Masālā is currently the national dish of the UK and can be prepared in a variety of ways using different spices and fats, such as yogurt or cream. I have had versions of this dish that have been super spicy and flavorful, while others have had a mild taste.
What do you all like? Are you more of a spice person, or do you like mild food?
Personally, as you all know I’m sure, I’m a spice fiend. I LOVE it. It’s actually pretty sad because I find most food bland. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate great food, especially food that isn’t supposed to be spicy by nature, like German food for example, but, like I said, I prefer that SPICE!
Anywhoo, I think ya’ll get the point!
Back to the chicken.
I started with a little over a pound in chicken breasts. I was at work and forgot to marinate the chicken the night before (this part is optional) so I had Justin do it for me. What a guy! He started by cutting the chicken breasts into cubes and then added yogurt, fresh lemon juice, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cinnamon and fresh ginger and fresh garlic. You can use powdered ginger and garlic if you like, but I love the addition of fresh herbs.
I let that marinate in the fridge for about 5 hours. Let me tell you, it smelled DIVINE when I took it out of the fridge prior to cooking. I would have licked the bowl it was marinated in if salmonella wasn’t an issue. OH WELL.
After I took the chicken out of the fridge I let it cook in a big pan, about 5 minutes per side, until the chicken was cooked through. If you are a grill master I would recommend actually grilling the chicken. There is nothing like that smoky charred flavor that makes this sauce pop. It is also makes the dish similar to actual chicken tikka, which is boneless chicken cooked on skewers in a tandoor oven. The marinade is the same but it is not put in a sauce after and is eaten dry. I didn’t have any skewers on hand so my pan worked just fine.
ON TO THE SAUCE.
I melted some butter in a pan and added freshly minced ginger and jalapeño. I let them dance together for a minute or so before adding cumin, coriander, chili powder, paprika and garam masālā. All the flavors combined for about 5 minutes before adding the tomato sauce.
In Indian cooking the more time spices spend on the gas the better they get. The matrimony of them harmonizing together is beautiful and delicious. Try not to rush this process. You will only be shorting yourself. Man. I sound like my mother.
BACK TO THE SAUCE.
Once the tomato sauce was added I let it sit, stirring occasionally, over a medium low flame, for about 25 minutes. I tasted it before I added the cream and it was pretty damn good if I do say so myself! Take that time to adjust your seasonings prior to adding the cream.
The flavors are satisfying so I added a cup of heavy cream to the pan, stirred and let sit simmer for 10 minutes. The spicier the dish the more cream you can add to offset it.
The chicken will be done before the sauce. If there is too much liquid that has released from the chicken, use a slotted spoon to add the chicken pieces to the sauce. You don’t want the sauce to get runny with the addition of the extra liquids.
Serve this mega dish over rice, or with naan, like Justin and I did.
Enjoy and happy Friday!
- 1 lb. chicken, cubed
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 piece fresh ginger, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp unsalted butter
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander
- Cut chicken into cubes. Add all ingredients for the marinade, stir to combine and refrigerate for 2 + hours.
- Once the chicken is marinaded add to a pan over medium heat, 5 minutes per side, until cooked all the way through.
- Meanwhile, in a pan over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic and jalapeño. Cook for a minute or so, careful to not let the garlic burn. Add salt and the dry spices listed under the sauce. Stir to combine. Let cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the tomato sauce, stir, and reduce heat to medium low. Let this cook for about 20-25 minutes. The sauce should be thickened.
- After 20 minutes check the seasoning to the sauce. If it is tasting how you like, add the cream in. Stir to combine. Let cook for 10 minutes.
- Add cooked chicken. Stir to combine the sauce over the chicken.
- Serve warm with rice or naan.
- Grill the chicken to get that smokey, charred, tandoor flavor.
- Once the tomato sauce has been added check the seasonings prior to adding the cream.
- If the cooked chicken has released a lot of liquid use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to the sauce.